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How the mighty NFL running back position has fallen

WE'VE ALL HEARD the narrative -- how after a decades long drift toward becoming a pass-first (and pass-second and pass-third) league, the NFL now values running backs about as much as it does Gatorade coolers. (Although, in the league's defense, some of those coolers can hold up to 10 gallons.) But is it true? We put the narrative to the metric test, studying draft trends, salary-cap allocation and the value of free agent contracts. The result: Let's just say sometimes the narrative spits the truth.